It’s National Take Your Dog To Work Day! No matter when you’re reading this, it’s National Take Your Dog To Work Day, as it’s a completely made up thing. Probably devised by the ‘Make Your Office Smell Like a Dog Council of Great Britain’ (MYOSLDCGB). But it is a fine example of our cultish, almost dangerous affection we have for our dogs. We buy them clothes, we send them off on exotic holidays, we hire expensive psychiatrists to deal with their neurosis. And we pick up their poo in tiny bags. But does the name that we give them reflect something about our own personality and nature? Yes, yes it does. As you will discover…
Traditional. You yearn for a dog from the old days who would pull clumsy toddlers from mine shafts and alert you when a fire had erupted down near the old creek and Timmy was in danger. You are utterly delusional, living in a world that no longer exists, where children went up chimneys and muffin men roamed the street, distributing their sweet breads to unsuspecting Londoners.
Cute. You fetishise your animal and wish it to be a toy that is played with and then cast aside when you grow bored. You live in a state of arrested development, treating the world like your playground, whereby your work would be your and your car some kind of motorised fairground amusement. You have never accepted the dangerous and responsible world of adulthood, finding it easier to revel in the infantile.
Obvious. The animal is named after an identifiable defect or physical trait. This displays a cruel and vicious streak in the owner, who rejoices in shouting out the animal’s deformity when calling them in a park or across a waste ground setting. It almost certainly reflects your own shortcomings, which you wish to deflect by drawing attention to your dog’s inadequacies.
Biblical. You view your pet as your saviour and redeemer, who will forgive you unconditionally and perhaps bestow a few magical wishes upon you. The animal represents the guilt you feel for past transgressions: possibly a late library book, a spurned lover or an arson. To compensate for your inability to process these feelings, you merely attempt to shroud your misery with fur and claws.
Normal. You don’t wish to draw attention to your canine pal, but rather want them to be considered an unexceptional branch of your family. You don’t feel worthy of being responsible for such a big undertaking as an animal, due to your massive insecurities, and so hide it behind a devastatingly unremarkable moniker. You didn’t really want a pet, but rather you crave the attention or approval of an authority figure, such as a dad or priest.
Random. You’ve saddled your pooch with a title consisting of a single random object, possibly using the Native American technique of naming them after the first thing you see in the room when they are born. You desperately want to appear creative and interesting and yet don’t have the talents or co-ordination to actually undertake a creative act. You want the plaudits and affection that creativity inspires, but you’d rather sit in a big chair and watch Antiques Road Trip while eating Bombay Mix than actually do something.
Aspirational. This pet was almost certainly acquired after some sort of personal crisis and was hoped to wipe the slate clean and offer a new beginning. The personal flaws that almost certainly brought about your problems in the first place are still within you, but rather than attempt to sort them out, you spend your redundancy on a Labradoodle instead. Your dog’s name points towards a shiny new future, but it’s hopelessly anchored in your lamentable past.
CAPTAIN HAMBURGER/POPE TANGERINE/LITTLE LITTLE HOPPY DOO DAD LEMONGRASS NOO-NAH
Weird. You’ve spent hours, possibly days, coming up with a colourful, confusing, complicated name for your hound that may be reference to a Grateful Dead song title or just something that came to you while vapeing. This ‘acting out’ as doctors call it, masks a bottomless pit of psychological trauma and powerfully damaging neurological inconsistencies. Try putting down the bong, having a wash, getting a job and growing up.
JOHN COLTRANE/JOHN TERRY/KERRY KATONA
Famous. You’ve decided to name your pooch after someone you admire. This person, an aspirational figure in your life, represents everything you have failed to be. It doesn’t matter how many episodes of Dragon’s Den you watch, you realise, deep down, that you are never going to be Evan Davis. In a last desperate attempt to add some structure and meaning to your life, you’ve decided to have this iconic figure with you at all times in the form of your dog. This won’t go well for anybody.
Lazy. You may think you are being ‘ironic’ in a sort of East London way by not giving your pet a name at all but merely referring to it by its species, but really you are using this creature to hurt yourself. You have no personality of your own, just a damp void where your soul should be, so this dog naming is really a cry for help. You’re telling the world ‘HELP ME, I AM NOTHING. AND I CONSTANTLY FEEL LIKE I’M GETTING A NOSEBLEED!’ Seek some kind of medical attention immediately.